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Animal Bites (cont.)

What Is the Follow-up for Animal Bites?

When the patient is discharged from the emergency department or leaves the doctor's office, they should receive instructions on how to care for the bite wound.

Most doctors will recommend a reevaluation of bites in 48 hours to look for infection.

If the wound was sutured (stitches), the doctor will tell the patient when the stitches will need to be removed.

  • Typically stitches in the face are removed in 3 to 5 days.
  • Stitches over major joints stay in 10 to 14 days.
  • Stitches in other areas are removed in 7 to 10 days.

How Do you Prevent Animal Bites?

With common sense, a person can lower the risk of being bitten by an animal:

  • Avoid contact and interaction with unknown animals. Even animals that appear friendly can bite if provoked.
  • Do not feed or try to catch or play with wild animals such as squirrels, raccoons, or rats.
  • Do not disturb an animal while it is feeding or taking care of its young.
  • Use great care when "aggressively" playing with an animal. Even the family dog can bite its owner by accident.
  • Do not stick your fingers into animals' cages (for example, at the pet store, zoo, or dog show).

What Is the Prognosis for Animal Bites?

The majority of animal bites heal quickly without serious complications.

Animal Bite Pictures

Bites, animal. A crush and tear type injury that occurs from a dog bite.
Bites, animal. A crush and tear type injury that occurs from a dog bite. Click to view larger image.

Bites, animal. Same injury (dog bite to the finger) from a different angle.
Bites, animal. Same injury (dog bite to the finger) from a different angle. Click to view larger image.

Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine

REFERENCE:

MedscapeReference.com. Animal Bites in Emergency Medicine.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/10/2016
Medical Author:

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Animal Bites:

Animal Bites - Type and Treatment

What kind of animal bit you, and what was the treatment?


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Animal Bites »

Because many animal bites are never reported, determining the exact incidence of animal bite wounds in the United States, let alone the world, is difficult.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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